Feeling lucky in Naperville

sarah run blog

For the first time, both my mom and dad ran a 5K with me!


You’re in the mood for love, you’re in the mood to dance/ You’re in the mood for a little romance…

I ran my first race of 2015! After a long hiatus from running outdoors due to Chiberia’s merciless, bitter cold, I am finally willing to step outside again for longer than a couple minutes at a time. The blessed warmth of this past week came right in time for my parents and me, because for the first time, both my mom and dad ran a 5K with me! It was my mom’s first ever race (after years of convincing) and she was so proud to run and finish it with us!

Every year on St. Patrick’s Day weekend, I go home to Naperville to run the St. Paddy’s Day 5K. I’ve never seen the river dyeing in Chicago or seen the parade downtown, but I have no regrets because I always have the best weekend right at home. For three years now, my dad and I have been running one or two races with each other a year — mostly so that we can hold each other accountable for regular exercise — but it’s also one of my favorite things that we do together. The St. Paddy’s Day 5K in 2013 was the very first race we ever did together, and since then, unbelievably, we have done four more! He never imagined that he would be one to ever register for and run a race but now he can say he has run the St. Paddy’s Day race three times, the Chinatown 5K, and the Turkey Trot 5K in November.

With the weather warmed up, I was really looking forward to getting out there this past weekend…even though I’m not in very good shape right now, to say the least. While I try to make it to the gym just a few times a week, it’s been hard to find motivation and energy in days to do so recently. I’m so tired from working or going to my evening MCAT classes that it’s so easy to justify myself that an extra hour or two of napping would be better. But I’m trying to get back in the swing of things, and I think running my first race of the year helps because now I’m so excited to get back in training for future races!

On Saturday morning, my parents and I woke up at 6 AM just to get to downtown Naperville in time to find parking and get ready to run. My mom wasn’t sure exactly what to expect, but I could tell she was excited. At 8 AM on the dot, the race started, and I immediately felt the repercussions of slacking on my workouts! Within the first mile I already felt significantly winded and was grateful that I had prepared a great running playlist for that day — I don’t know if I could have made it through without it! At my parents’ insistence, I ran ahead of them, keeping my own pace throughout the race. I did get to see them once, though, when the race looped around at the end of a long street!

sarah run blog2

Happy to be back running outside after a long, cold winter!

The day was not quite as warm as I had hoped, but it was far from cold, too. I remember last year my fingers were freezing off and all I really wanted was a pair of gloves! But this year I was feeling warm just a couple minutes into the race, and it actually turned out to be near perfect running weather. I finished with a rather slower time than my usual 5K time (close to 27 minutes), but it was still a fantastic time just being able to run a race with both of my parents and running outside for the first time in what feels like forever.

My parents finished in about 42 minutes! I was really impressed when I went back on the course to find them and saw them jogging together, and it was such fun to cheer them on! At the end of the race, we decided to stay a bit longer to watch the St. Patrick’s Day parade in downtown Naperville. It’s probably the first parade I’ve watched in many years!

Afterwards, we celebrated our run by having a huuuuge brunch meal at my favorite brunch place in Naperville (Pancake Café)…which may certainly have negated our workout, but it was delicious! I had a long weekend of studying for my biochem and MCAT classes, but spending time with my family is always one of the best reprieves from work I can ask for. My spring break will be filled with much more studying I’m sure, but I can’t wait to be home for a whole week.

The semester is over the halfway mark…hang in there, everyone! We’re in the last stretch of the semester.

Can I have the chance to be your little romance? / Can I have this stance, I’m in the mood for you

(Little Romance – Ingrid Michaelson)


Sarah Lee (F)


Sarah Lee is a junior studying neuroscience and Russian in the GPPA Medicine program at UIC. She’s still trying to figure out exactly what she wants to do, but some of  life goals include running a marathon, exploring Eastern Europe and becoming fluent in Russian. In her free time, she loves running, playing piano and guitar, and reading. A Naperville native, Sarah is a peer mentor in the Courtyard residence hall.



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